Waking up miraculously unharmed by last night’s escapades, Shirou now has to acclimate to living with Saber.
This sure is some Fate-ass Fate, starring plenty of relatively dull exposition and obvious foreshadowing compared to the incredible episode-long fight from last week. It’s somewhat more of the same-old, same-old from the past month: Rin is tsundere, Shirou is a well-meaning dork who doesn’t know shit, Sakura is still super lame, and UFOtable is still dancing around the cash bonfire. Alas, apparently in direct retribution for me being happy they toned down Illya’s psycho tendencies and seemingly aging her up a tad, UFOtable sticks in a highly gratuitous and unnecessary scene of her bathing (and being psycho) as Sella and Leysritt spout exposition. THANKS, GUYS.
To UFOtable’s credit, they’re still handling the main characters quite well, Saber in particular. Her expressions and reactions have a good subtlety to them, especially when keeping 2012’s Fate/Zero in mind. In complete opposition to Kiritsugu (and the Fate route), Shirou is understanding of her shortcomings and willing to follow her counsel when it comes to battle, and it’s enjoyable to see her react with some level of bemusement to either of these. Depending on how far you’ve been spoiled on the story (and F/SN has been out for ten years, it’s probably fairly likely), some other characters also have some telling reactions when presented with particular bits of information.
Overall, while I’m somewhat worried about how they’re handling some of the route-neutral foreshadowing that isn’t necessarily important in this route, UFOtable is doing as good of a job as can be expected with adapting Unlimited Blade Works. I look forward to seeing how they’ll embellish things going forward (hopefully with way less naked children involved).
This show’s pace really likes to whiplash back and forth. After last episode’s action bonanza, this week feels really boring in comparison. This wasn’t all bad though, as it at least gave us some setup for the Grail War ahead. Illya is revealed to have the worst kind of motivations with that egregious bath scene. Such tangential vengeance is so silly it makes her character harder to take seriously. The moments with Saber and Shirou are enhanced for anyone who has watched F/Z as it continues to illustrate Shirou as a much different man from his adoptive father. Unfortunately, the later interactions with Saber and Shirou’s school also results in this jarringly out of place slice of life nonsense. This means dead-inside-kouhai and biggest-evidence-for-why-wizards-shouldn’t-be-allowed-to-have-kids Sakura gets to act like this is some wacky rom-com instead of the brutal battle to the death the story really should be focused on.